Imagine a house somewhere on the Island; on the outside it looks just like other homes in the neighborhood, but inside is a different story. A sea of food containers covers the kitchen floor. Empty cereal boxes neatly line the oven. In the garage the only indication of a car is a rusted decal peering out from beneath a mountain of boxes. In the living room a waist-high pile of newspapers dating back three decades looms above a panorama of detritus and endless more unmarked cardboard boxes.
An elderly person lives here. Imagine then that there are other houses like it on the Island.
Last month Island officials invited Dr. Christiana Bratiotis of Boston University to speak at the Oak Bluffs library on the hidden but very real problem of compulsive hoarding. Ms. Bratiotis is the author of The Hoarding Handbook, set for release by Oxford University Press in 2011, and the four-hour training and information session was an eye-opener for many in the audience.
“To me it has probably always existed but we just didn’t know what to name it,” said Ann Wallace, executive director of Island Elderly Housing. “It’s just recently that we’ve realized how devastating it is to people’s lives, and to families’ lives.”.." More